EU warns Minsk on human rights

The president of the European Parliament has said if Belarus wants to benefit from EU support, it has to change its ways with regard to the opposition, NGOs and ethnic minorities, Polish Radio reported Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference in Opole, southern Poland, Jerzy Buzek said that this applies in particular to the Polish minority, the largest minority ethnic group in Belarus.

He said a delegation of MEPs, currently in Belarus, is to present a report on Monday.

He said Belarus needs EU assistance, especially in long-term investment and technology to help the ailing economy, but stressed that such assistance was only possible if Belarus pursued real democratic reform.

Earlier this month, Belarusian police detained a large group of activists of the Union of Poles.

On February 17, Polish MPs passed a resolution condemning Belarus' policies toward a Polish minority group in connection with a property dispute.

A court outside Minsk ruled that the Polish House in Ivenets, located some 60 miles west of the Belarusian capital and claimed by the Belarusian authorities, remain in the ownership of the official Union of Poles in Belarus. The building was seized by the authorities earlier this month.

The Union of Poles in Belarus was established in 1990 to unite Polish culture and education societies in Belarus. After the Union split in 2005, the part loyal to the government in Minsk was officially recognized, while the unrecognized wing, led by Anzhelika Boris, went into opposition against the authorities.

WARSAW, February 27 (RIA Novosti)


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